Shakira vs. war against Iraq in Mongoose tour

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sat Feb 8 17:34:38 MST 2003

Shakira Calls For Peace, Explains Mongoose Mystery

"I think that if a third war takes place, nothing is going to be left on the
face of earth." - Shakira

Near the end of Shakira's live show, a short film is projected on giant
screens, depicting puppet caricatures of President Bush and Saddam Hussein
playing chess.

The visual is comical at first, like something from Genesis' "Land of
Confusion" video. But as violent war footage begins to intersperse with the
match and the shot slowly pans out to reveal the puppeteer is the Grim
Reaper, it develops into a disturbing segment that changes the tone of the
Colombian singer's concert.

Shakira has been introducing her song "Octavo Dia" with the film since her
Tour of the Mongoose launched in November (see "Shakira Shows She's The
Colombian Britney, Colombian Tommy Lee At Tour Kickoff"), but as the United
States grows closer to attacking Iraq, the film is garnering more and more

On Sunday, at one of the tour's final U.S. stops at the Arena in Oakland,
Shakira explained in detail for the first time her motivation for including
the segment in an otherwise lighthearted production.

"I think that we see war as a virtual thing and we even get to believe that
bombs fall on top of cardboard cutouts and stuff like that," Shakira said.
"They don't. They kill real people, real children, real mothers and millions
of innocent people. I come from Columbia, which is a country that has been
under the whip of violence for more than four decades, so I've seen the
consequences of war and I've seen the psychological damage that it does in a
society. And I think that we're never ready for war."

By comparing war to a game of chess, Shakira said she's expressing her
opinion that the confrontation between America and Iraq is about two people
trying to win a game.

"I just feel that there are always pacifist solutions, and I think that the
leaders know the exit to the conflict, it's just that sometimes they don't
want to use them," she said. "They just want to continue playing their
little game of power. And I feel that us people have the responsibility and
also the obligation to demand to our leaders to give us the pacifist
solutions. To give us a world in peace."

That notion, Shakira said, is addressed in another part of her concert, when
the screens project one of her favorite quotes, from Jimi Hendrix: "When the
power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

"I might be sounding like an old fashioned hippie, but I believe in pacifist
revolutions and I think that we have to look for those solutions, otherwise
there's no way to survive in this world," Shakira said. "In the First World
War, 13 million people were killed. In the Second World War, 40 million
people were killed. I think that if a third war takes place, nothing is
going to be left on the face of earth."

While the other 110 minutes of Shakira's two-hour show seem focused on
singing, dancing and having a good time, she said the entire theme of the
concert is rooted in her political stance.

"It's called the Tour of the Mongoose, and the mongoose is basically one of
the few animals who can defeat the most venomous snakes with just one bite,"
she said. "And that's why I decided to name my tour that way, because I
think that if we all have a little mongoose inside that can defeat the
hatred and the resentment and the prejudice of everyday, we can probably win
the battle."

Shakira gets particularly political, asking fans to support a peace
movement, before "Octavo Dia" because of the story behind the song.

" 'Octavo Dia' talks about God when he created the world, the eighth day he
went for a walk to outer space and when he came back he found our world in
an infernal mess," she explained. "And he found that we were being
controlled and manipulated by just a few leaders and that we were like
pieces of a chess game.

"Not always do the governments represent their people," she added. "Not
always do the governments make the right decisions, because the governments
are controlled by just a few, and those few do not always represent
faithfully the ideals of the people."

Shakira's Tour of the Mongoose hits Laredo, Texas, on Wednesday and Thursday
before heading to Mexico. The singer will return to the States for
performances in Albuquerque on February 23 and El Paso, Texas, on February

-Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Megan Hanley

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